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Road unkind to slumping Tigers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Auburn's basketball team's downward spiral picked up speed Wednesday night at Vanderbilt' s Memorial Gymnasium. The Tigers faded late in the first half and lost their third straight, 73-61 to the struggling Commodores.

Frankie Sullivan scored 14 points for Auburn.

“Right now we are not playing really tough and we are not playing with a defensive identity and it is hurting us on both ends of the floor,” Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. “We go back home, and we have to get our mojo back because right now we don’t have it.”

The Tigers will likely need it Saturday when No. 23 Ole Miss visits Auburn Arena.

After failing to make a 3-point shot in last Saturday's loss to Kentucky, the Tigers were 9-for-24 against, matching Vanderbilt's numbers. But Vanderbilt hit all its 3-pointers en route to a 16-point lead with 11 minutes left in the game.

Auburn made its first five shots, including a 3-pointers by Shaquille Johnson and Jordan Price, to take a 12-4 lead five minutes into the game. Vanderbilt answered with a 10-1 run to regain the lead at 14-12. The Commodores scored six straight points, but Josh Wallace and Brian Greene Jr. made back-to-back 3-pointers to tie it at 27-27 with 3:17 left. Vandy scored the final seven points of the half to take a 34-27 lead at intermission.

Of Vanderbilt’s first six second-half field goals, four were 3-pointers as the Commodores took a 50-37 lead with 13:14 left after back-to-back treys from Sheldon Jeter and Kevin Bright. Vanderbilt extended it to 53-37, capping a 13-3 run with a Rod Odom dunk.

Auburn fall to 8-10 overall and 2-3 in the SEC. Vanderbilt won its second straight to improve to 8-9 and 2-3.

Auburn outshot Vanderbilt 22-of-53 (.415) to 20-of-49 (.408), but the Commodores went 24-of-30 from the foul line while the Tigers were 8-of-9. Vandy outrebounded Auburn 37-29 and had an 11-4 edge in second chance points.

Kedren Johnson led a balanced Vanderbilt scoring attack with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Kyle Fuller added 14 points, Kevin Bright 12 points on 4-of-7 three-pointers and Sheldon Jeter 10 points.

Frankie Sullivan and Rob Chubb scored 14 points apiece for Auburn. Freshman Brian Greene Jr. scored 11.

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